A collection of stories and information about those whose lives were not only cut short, but were killed on stage, in front of an audience. We honor the ones who lived to entertain us, but who never expected their deaths would occur in the spotlight.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dancer Yoshiyuki Takada: 1985 Death From Fall

September 10 was the 26th anniversary of the death of Japanese dancer Yoshiyuki Takada. He was a member of the Butoh-style dance troupe Sankai Juku, and perished when he fell off the side of the Mutual Life Building during a performance of a “hanging dance" in Seattle, Washington.

The dance involved Takada and three of his troupe-mates being suspended from the roof of the building, then slowly being lowered down the outside of the building while in a fetal position. It was a dance performance that Takada and his group had performed many time around the world, but on this occasion, Takada’s rope broke just seconds after starting the descent. The 31-year-old dancer fell a reported 80 feet to the pavement below, never releasing from his fetal position.

After the accident, Takada’s rope was examined and was found to be incapable of holding his weight, which caused the fall. The rumors were that, while some tests on the ropes and the rigging had been done, they had not been a thorough as usual, and it was possible Takada’s rope had not been tested with sandbags to see if it could hold a person’s weight.

The Los Angeles Times reporter Lewis Segal wrote an excellent article on the tragedy two days after it happened, which can be found here.

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